Sunday, June 7, 2015

New Orchid

Early this Spring I saw an unusual dried seed pod which had characteristics of many Orchids that I have seen. So, I have been keeping an eye on it and today, I found it blooming. It is a Loesel's Twayblade, an Orchid that I have never seen or even looked for. I found it, like many others, just by being out and about and being observant. I spotted the seed pod on a logging road near my home while driving along. It has not been reported in Raleigh County before and is in the same vicinity of the Appalachin Twayblades I found last year (click for link), also a Raleigh County first.

Loesel's Twayblade with last years seedpod

Monday, May 11, 2015

First Orchids

Showy Orchis 
Two days ago (just before a nasty stomach virus knocked me down a couple of days) I went to a new favorite spot where I had seen emerging Showy Orchis and Yellow Lady Slippers  a couple weeks ago. This was a new site for these orchids which  I found just by being out and about.
 I saw Pink Lady Slipper leaves near here last fall and hoped for a trifecta of early orchids, but could not find them again
Yellow Lady Slippers

I had a couple of bird experiences this week. I am not a dedicated birder but do enjoy spotting new ones. I know its time for Warblers to show up here so I keep an eye out and spotted a pair of
Yellow Hooded Warblers.

Then today sitting on the porch I saw this Scarlet Tangier fly in and had the chance to grab a camera and lens to get this shot of a beautifully colored bird

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Smoky Mountains

Last Year, I spent a few days in Mid April in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. This year, I found myself back again to celebrate my 30th wedding anniversary. As usual, the days were for the tourist trap, but early mornings were mine for hikes. I went back to Porters Creek and Cove Hardwood trails, both reputed to be the best wildflower hikes in the Smokies. I enjoyed both hike, and love the Smoky Mountains, but as I have expanded my horizons in West Virginia, I can now find almost every wildflower here at home, the exceptions being White Fringed Phacelia and Yellow Trillium. I can remember every year hoping to see Showy Orchis along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and now, I hav found four locations here at home, two in the past two weeks, just by spending more time walking and exploring. A couple highlights were some White Fringed Phacelia that was light blue and a new wildflower.Below are many pictures from the trip.

White Fringed Phacelia (blue variation)

Streptopus lanceolatus (Rose Twisted Stalk)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Last Day of April

I spent an hour or so making a one mile loop around the farm and surrounding property and saw some great flowers. There are several springs that run out of a hillside in a very deep and steep gullies. One in particular has the only Bloodroot that I have seen on any of the property near my home. I found the leaves last year and hoped to catch them in bloom this year but missed. But today, I found one just starting to loose its petals. It was 44 degrees and rainy, still cool.

#338 - Swamp Saxifrage

But the most interesting find was Swamp Saxifrage, a flower I have only seen in the Smoky Mountains. I found these in only one spring fed, wet gully in the area and they were not blooming a week ago. Today, one plant was in bloom, even though most of the green plants in the picture above is it. It also makes the 5th new wildflower found for this blog in April of this year.

          Now, bring on May.

Wild Blueberry


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Rambling Around

One of my favorite ways to find wildflowers when I just have a few spare minutes is to drive along old dirt country roads. Jumping out occasionally to look around. Yesterday I drove to two places near my home and found the following:

The first was Early Meadow Rue. This first plant has male flowers, the second one may be female, but I didn't know at the time that they had all flowers of one sex on a plant, so I did not pay enough attention 
#336 - Early Meadow Rue

This swarm of Putty Root Orchid were near the Rue

And I found a new location for  Gaywings or Fringed Polygala.
As I was reading up on this plant. I learned that the fringe is a landing platform that is spring loaded and when a pollinator lands on it, it bends down on a hinge and a load of pollen springs up and attaches to the insect. 

#337 - Yellow Rocket
Non-native related to the mustards